Dog rescued off ledge on Lion's Head

2018-01-02 22:27
Holly, the dog which was rescued off Table Mountain. (DARG)

Holly, the dog which was rescued off Table Mountain. (DARG)

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Cape Town - Cape Town's mountain rescuers had little sleep over the New Year's long weekend with Holly - a dog - among the latest to be rescued off Table Mountain, during an operation on Tuesday.

"The dog was lost yesterday (Monday) when they went hiking on [Lion's Head]," said Wilderness Safety and Rescue (WSAR) spokesperson Johann Marais.

The dog's owner was not a patient or in need of rescue but, because the WSAR's volunteers will help any person or animal in need without charge, Marais said they helped Holly to safety.

Holly's owner, Michelle Hoch, told News24 that she and her fiancé, Josh Hayman, had decided to go for a long walk with Holly on New Year's Day, instead of having a New Year's Eve party.

They are getting married in February and wanted to enjoy a bottle of champagne in the peaceful environment to mark the start of an exciting year.

But Holly had other plans.

"We weren't expecting to see so many dassies and Holly just broke free," said Michelle.

"The lead went out of my hand. Usually she is very good, but she must have gone running after the dassies.''

Holly ran into the distance and did not return to them, so they became worried and started searching for her.

They had adopted Holly, a playful mixed breed, from DARG animal welfare organisation, and she had been with them for about six months.

They searched for her until nightfall, and started again early on Tuesday, calling out to her, and trying to coax her towards them with her squeaky toy.

They eventually heard whining, and saw Holly's head peeping over a ledge about three storeys above them.

A massive rescue operation kicked off, with one volunteer even scrambling near Holly to give her some water and checking her for broken bones.

Marais said: "WSAR operatives, with assistance of SANParks rangers were able to put the dog in a harness on the ledge and lower it to safety. The call was concluded when the dog was reunited with its owner."

Thirty-one hours after she went missing, Holly was taken to the vet and given a clean bill of health.

"It is really just angels today, it's just phenomenal," said Michelle, expressing gratitude to everybody who helped with the rescue.

"I have never seen anything like it. My faith in humanity has been restored."

Nicole Nel, general manager of DARG, said they had a soft spot for Holly after her stay with them so, when they heard she was lost, they helped coordinate the rescue.

Nel paid tribute to everybody who pitched in to help Holly, including SANParks, a tracker, and volunteer rock climbers.

"We all love her and when she was safe, we did happy crying," said Nel.

In addition to Holly's rescue, WSAR also helped a man who hurt himself at Kasteelspoort.

This was after Monday night's dramatic rescue of a female climber, who had been injured during a fall on a rock face on Table Mountain. Two other climbers died in the fall and the police have opened an inquest into the incident.

Marais said that there were 185 searches or rescues on Table Mountain in 2017, including 22 in December.

The organisation relies only on donations which it uses to replace equipment. Anybody who wishes to support them can do so here

Read more on:    cape town  |  animals

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